South Park Design Build
It’s often interesting to see the pathways on which life can take a person. About 25 years ago, Eric Adelman was employed as a classical musician with the National Ballet of Canada, when on the side he started buying homes, fixing them up and selling them. Adelman’s father had been in the development industry, so he helped Eric with the construction and renovation aspects of these projects. Over the years, Eric Adelman gravitated toward higher-end homes and began partnering with architects and designers, and by 2000, he had established a strong client base and was creating high-end homes for them. Leaving his classical music career behind, he founded South Park Design Build.
Based in Toronto, South Park takes its clients from concept to completion by drawing on the strengths of its partner trades. Taking pride in delivering projects on-time, on-budget and with the quality clients envision, South Park is dedicated to assembling teams that will meet the firm’s and client’s expectations.
This includes an architect, interior designer, surveyor, arborist, landscape designer, legal advice, engineers, trades and suppliers – all who will work with South Park to manage a transparent flow of information to the client throughout the project.
Adelman suggests that the Farnham home – the first residential project to receive LEED Platinum certification in the Greater Toronto Area – is a great example of the type of work South Park delivers.
“This was a fun collaboration we had with the architect – William Dewson – and owner,” he says. “The LEED aspect was spearheaded by the architect, but we were definitely up for the challenge. The homeowner was a holistic dentist and really liked the idea of using recycled materials, a geothermal system and solar panels. It was a healthy building process and resulted in a very environmentally sustainable structure. For example, the wood for the staircase and the joists was recycled Douglas fir that came from a Canadian Airforce hangar in Ottawa.”
Deep Knowledge Base
South Park has only two employees – Adelman and Director of Operations Matthew Brooks – so close collaboration with its partners is key to the successful delivery of its projects. This was especially important on the Farnham project, Adelman notes.
“We did a lot of research on every item that we included on that project and the associated costs,” he says.
“We use Base Camp, which allows for online communication and file sharing, but we also had a pool of trades who were committed to the success of the project, and communication is important with them, too,” Adelman continues. “We communicated every day with our team members to keep the project moving forward.”
He explains that customers are focused on modern designs, especially with their home interiors, although some like the push the boundaries of the exterior, as well.
Clients also are more sensitive to environmental issues, so more of them are incorporating low-flow plumbing systems, solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems. The costs of environmentally sustainable building elements are coming down, as well, so that helps to attract clients to those features in their homes.
“We saw a lot of smart homes about five years ago, but that is always a big-ticket item,” Adelman says. “They can be very complicated on the back end and it’s difficult to keep up with the technology because it’s changing all of the time.
“When it comes to balancing costs and quality on a project, we always pull from our knowledge base,” he adds. “We also stay as upfront as possible with clients – we don’t low-ball things because we want to be realistic. Clients are always shopping for value and that’s not always easy to achieve. Also, convincing clients where value lies isn’t always easy, but we keep those lines of communication open.”
He explains that with his background in development, his knowledge in how something affects the investment aspect of a home is key to his ability to give good advice to a client.
Adelman also has his real estate license, so he follows the market closely to keep clients abreast of what’s happening. When clients call, he assembles a team for the project based on the client’s personality and budget, and uses his knowledge base and the expertise of his partners to deliver what the client wants.
“We are always looking for new and exciting projects, and we like the opportunities we see in front of us,” Adelman says, adding that the company has a few projects on the horizon it is excited about. “On our development side, we just purchased a loft building with a few partners, and we are going to finish the units the way the clients want. This is a 50,000- to 60,000-square-foot building, and there is a big demand in the Toronto area for original industrial loft living. We’re proud of what we can do, though – our ability to communicate, provide a high level of service and exceed clients’ expectations with quality is key to our continued growth.”